Lewis Hamilton says he damaged his car after mini clash with Charles Leclerc in F1 Japanese GP, which is why he made the call later on.

It wasn’t the F1 Japanese GP that Mercedes’ Hamilton was hoping for when he started the weekend. He felt good to start the weekend but it slipped in the grand prix. The first stint dropped him at the fag end of the Top 10 and he never recovered from there.

Post-race, Hamilton wasn’t too keen to speak with the media as well – by the looks of it – as he kept it short with written media. Speaking to TV media, the Brit revealed about his contact with Ferrari’s Leclerc at re-start which seemingly damaged his car.

That is the reason why he asked his team to let George Russell by, who eventually managed to get to seventh while Hamilton was ninth. “The car is never what I hoped it would be,” he said. “It’s never what we hoped it would be. I got some damage I think in the first stint at the restart with Charles and I had massive understeer, like huge, huge understeer.

“So that’s why I decided to let George by, because he seemed quicker and I just couldn’t turn the car. It took us two stints to finally dial more and more wing in to make up for that loss. Last stint, I was better, but it was too late, I had 10 seconds to regain,” summed up Hamilton, who lamented lack of pace and the tight pack behind Red Bull.

“I don’t know if you can take many positives from the weekend,” said Hamilton. “The car finished which is good, but we’re like, you know, seventh, eighth, ninth fastest, so… yeah. We know it’s very tight out there at the moment, everyone behind the Red Bulls. We didn’t have a great day yesterday and ultimately paid the price today, and you’ve seen that, I think, two of the four races now, one, two-tenths between six cars on the grid.

“If you qualify at the front of that pack, you’ll probably be finishing at the front of that pack. It’s quite cool that the fight is like that, it’s a shame it’s not for the win. But equally we know these last three circuits haven’t really suited the strengths of our car. So we’ll reassess in China,” summed up Hamilton.

Here’s Lewis Hamilton wishing Heikki Kovalainen

Here’s George Russell on clash with Oscar Piastri and Fernando Alonso’s tactics

Here’s how F1 Japanese GP panned out

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